View Full Version : Thread movement/infraction

August 6th, 2007, 04:33 AM
I am asking for a decision to be reviewed. I posted two threads up to the forums inviting people to participate in a research survey for a Master of Arts I am conducting into volunteer organisations at Melbourne University.

The respective forums were "Ubuntu Testimonials and Experiences" and the "Community Cafe". An infraction was issued in addition to this with the reason listed as "Spam/Taking advantage of our users". The message with this saying "You should not expect to be able to just turn up, then ask our users to go to your sites and do surveys. It is extremely impolite."

I sent a note to the moderator, and had a discussion with him on IM explaining that I am not a new user, that I merely signed up for this account for the survey. My main account on these forums is "trollzor" and as you can see from the post history I have written HOWTOs in addition to requesting help. So I use Ubuntu personally on my desktop and I've helped out a little in the past. I am also vice-president of Jabber Australia (jabber.org.au) and class myself a friend of free and open source software. I apologised for the apparent impoliteness and agreed that someone with a zero post count asking did look a little odd at first without the whole story.

I pointed out that nobody had to do the survey who didn't want to and that the responses to the threads were all positive (i.e. that it did not appear the community thought that this was taking advantage of them). I pointed out that I had read the spam policy carefully, and that this is a student non-profit project. Despite having all this information the administrator in question maintained that I was taking advantage of the users.

I am not appealing his first decision, which I believe is partially justified given the new account was at zero posts and he didn't have the full story. However, I am appealing his continued position that I am "taking advantage of our users". First on the count that I am not some journalist doing a hit-piece but that I am a friend of free and open source software and open standards, a fact to which there is a record. It makes me feel a little confused to suggest that I am somehow "taking advantage" with a non-profit student project, while (perfectly reasonably) Canonical and others are set up to make monetary profit whilst deeply involved with the community. Secondly, baring any complaints of which I am not aware, it does not appear that users are actually dissatisfied, but were in fact positive to the project. These are the replies to the threads:

"Sure I'd like to share my thoughts! :)"
"Finished your survey. It was quick and painless :)"
"Finished it! :)
It was actually quicker than 10mins."
"done ;)"
"count me in, completed :)"
"finished it."

Further, the very purpose of the survey is to give these people a voice themselves rather than talking about them academically without their thoughts being included. I don't want to cause a fuss here, but I explained everything very politely to him and he didn't change his position and gave me the link to this forum. I feel that someone who has written HOWTOs for this community, run betas and the like, and wants to conduct research into the community in their capacity as a social researcher should not be spoken to like they are somehow taking advantage of the community. The research itself is part of a process legitimating organisations like these in academic discourse. I apologise if there is a rule against researchers soliciting people's opinions from the forums but I read the rules carefully and didn't find such a thing.

I would like to make it clear the first misunderstanding is fine with me, as I think he was right to be suspicious of people with a 0 post count, I also think he's right to be suspicious of researchers. However I think I have proven I am not just new or someone who is out to take advantage of anyone so I am at a loss to understand his continued reasoning along these lines after it was explained to him. Therefore I will take him up on his offer to have the decision reviewed in this forum by someone else.

I'll also take this opportunity to ask any moderators here to respond with a message if they'd be interested in a 30 - 60 minute interview about these forums. Also after I have finished up on this university work I will return to post my HOWTO-in-progress for the Visionplus DTV Digital TV card which I finally nailed on my current install. :)

cheers to all involved inc. the moderator for his accessibility and politeness,

Tom Griffiths

August 6th, 2007, 04:38 AM
I will look at this and come back shortly

August 6th, 2007, 04:48 AM
I have looked at this and feel there has been a misunderstanding. I have reversed the Infraction issued and moved the thread into the Community Cafe.

A foot note , I think if members wish to post survey requests like this they should contact staff first. To avoid any thing like this occuring.